Burdekin wall increase will benefit China’s solar panels, not farmers: Katter

Jun 13, 2023

KATTER’S Australian Party MP Bob Katter fears the biggest winner from raising the Burdekin Dam wall will be the solar panel industry in China, and not North Queensland’s agriculture sector as he questions the real motive of the investment.

Mr Katter expressed his opposition to the State Government’s announcement on Tuesday which claimed raising the wall would “future proof the site and provide up to 150,000 megalitres of new water allocations for agriculture.” [1][1]

“You could do exactly that by putting Hell’s Gates in,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter said raising the Burdekin Dam wall was a “robbery” of the river’s water and stated due to the dam’s shallow depth, increasing the height would make it susceptible to higher evaporation rates. He said on contrary; Hell’s Gates would be a “deeper pond,” leading to lower evaporation.

“They are cold-bloodedly destroying the Burdekin River, the life blood of North Queensland. This will take water away from Hell’s Gates, from the great Australian and Dr (John) Bradfield dream – to take a small amount of water from the coastal stream and turn North and Central Queensland’s richest soils into one of the biggest food bowls.

“With Hell’s Gates, we’ll be expanding farming and sugarcane production west of Ayr. With this wall, we won’t.

“But I believe what the State Government really wants here is pumped hydroelectricity – they’ve committed us to their $62bn intermittent energy plan.

“With over 50 per cent of Australia registered as desert, on the driest continent on earth, you want to take water and pump it to generate electricity? In the most coal-rich state?

“Pumped hydro will double the cost of electricity. And to pump it, your power is going to come from either the coal stations, or solar panels, and China’s manufacturing will be the real winner there.

“Hell’s Gates was always intended to include hydro, not pumped, just real hydro, providing electricity and water to the farmers.”